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What is a Creative Agency, and Do I Need One?

In How Things Work by Mark Douglass

We get this all the time.  A “creative agency” sounds made up, right?  We know.  In previous generations, it would be NONSENSICAL to suggest that a shop full of young people would sit around in a common workspace and brainstorm core identities for companies, make visual art and attach it to a company that makes leather goods, or gluten free cookies.  When you pull the camera back far enough, it seems ABSURD.  I can’t imagine trying to explain to people what I do if I suddenly found myself in San Antonio, Texas in 1943. Similarly, imagine putting on a straight face and saying these words: “I use computer languages, codes actually, to make sure cell phone apps integrate with Amazon product fulfillment services and credit card processing.”  I think I would have been run out of town on a RAIL. There are several nouns in that sentence that would translate to a good thrashing in 1943.

But, today, most people don’t need creative agencies to justify their existence or explain too much on the front end.  They INTUITIVELYunderstand that the digital marketplace is so dynamic that no one person, or one marketing director can do it all.  

“Creative agencies come up with concepts and strategies to help brands develop creative voices and stand out via commercials, print ads, events, online engagement and more. If a creative agency is what you’re seeking, here are a few things to consider.” – ANDREW MEDAL of entrepreneur.com explains further:

WHAT IS A CREATIVE AGENCY, AND DO I NEED ONE?

Think of working with an agency as a LONG TERM investment. If you have a one-time project, like an event flyer, it’s probably best to find an independent vendor such as a graphic design freelancer.

Know Your Company Values, Vision, and Mission

It will be your job to help explain your company’s value, vision and mission to your agency partner. Make sure you can clearly articulate these items — if you can’t, don’t worry about it — any agency worth their salt should be able to help you DEFINE yourself.

Be Clear With Your Objectives

You don’t have limitless funds, so you’ll want to focus on specific GOALSsuch as increasing sales, penetrating new markets and growing your social media reach.

Identify the Right Agency

Figure out your objectives and identify the agency that will be BEST for your specific goals. If your most pressing need is a mobile-friendly website, it won’t make sense for you to work with an agency that specializes in social media marketing only.

Figure Out Your Budget

Determine your threshold beforehand so that you can clearly ARTICULATE your needs to your potential partner. This will save you lots of back and forth.  Next, you’ll start looking for the right partner. Here are some things to look for in a partner:

  1. Experience. Ensure the agency has a track record of the kind of work you need.
  2. Capabilities. Make sure the agency can execute your objectives.
  3. Culture. Make sure the agency’s culture aligns with your own.

We think Mr. Medal offers SAGE advice.  Keeping good communication lines open, asking lots of questions, and setting clear deadlines for work delivery are the only pieces we would add to this recipe for successfully engaging a creative agency.  A clearly defined SCOPE of WORK will answer all these additional considerations.

So, that’s what we do, but do you NEED a creative agency?  That’s something that can only be answered after an initial coffee conversation.  Maybe you don’t! We often meet clients who don’t need creative agency services — perhaps they’re enjoying the results of a flourishing brand with a growing reputation.  Perhaps they have a fantastic website and social media presence.  IF this is the case, we usually pause that conversation to deliver a heartfelt round of HIGH-FIVES!  That IS impressive indeed.  It means you already know what you’re saying — your voice and your message are in tact and on point.  Frankly, a company like this needs to explore their options with a digital marketing agency so they can make the message LOUDER & DIRECTED to the right consumers.  

TEASER: Fidelis recently partnered with a digital marketing agency.  As such, their job is to build a strategy, push it hard, look at the results (accountability), and then retest that strategy as they tweak it to perfection — but that’s for a different post — maybe titled something wacky like: “What is a Digital Marketing Agency, and do I need one?”  

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